Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Buttery Shortbread Bites

These cookies are absolutely delicious.  This is a family favorite.  It is a simple, basic shortbread recipe.  The nonpareils make them festive and give a delightful crunch.  Enjoy!

Buttery Shortbread Bites
by Mama
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Cookie Sheet lined with silpat or parchment

2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
pinch salt
4 T. colored nonpareils

Cream butter with sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add extract continue beating.  In a bowl mix flour and salt.  Slowly add flour mixture into butter mixture.  Make sure it is all mixed well, scraping bottom of bowl.  Add the nonpareils.  Mix well.

Take a grapefruit size of dough.  Flatten out to a square disc about 3/4 inch high and about 4x4 square.  Use your hands to make sides of dough even and have a sharp edge.  Using a sharp chefs knife cut the cookies into 3/4" x 3/4" squares.  Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown on bottom of cookie.  Place on cooling rack.

I make these days in advance when having a party, etc....They get better with age.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gluten-Free Yellow Cupcakes

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?  

This a simple yellow cupcake that is delicious.  Has a nice spongy, moist crumb.  Pretty close to the real deal, but this one is Gluten-Free.  They would be great with vanilla frosting with coconut and filled with a pastry cream.  That will be coming soon!  This is a keeper and I will be making it for my daughter's friends when they come to visit.

I know this recipe would be perfect for a birthday cake!

Gluten-Free Yellow Cupcakes
Adapted recipe/source:  All Recipes
Makes 12 large Texas size cupcakes
or 24 regular cupcakes

1 1/2 cups white rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. xanthan gum
4 eggs room temperature
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2/3 cup full fat mayonnaise
1 cup milk
2 tsp. gluten-free vanilla extact

Special Note: I added 1 T. of olive oil to make it extra moist!

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  I use Texas size muffins tins and lined them with large cupcake liners.   Take the 1 1/2 cups of rice flour and pour the milk on top in a bowl. Mix well with a wooden spoon.  Set to side and let this sit while you prepare the other ingredients. This little step keeps the cupcakes from having a grainy texture.

2. Mix the tapioca flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum together and set aside.
3. Mix the eggs, sugar, and mayonnaise until fluffy in a stand mixer. If you like you can add the additional 1 T. of olive oil at this point.   Add the flour with milk and all the other dry ingredients plus the vanilla and mix well. You can not over beat there is no gluten.  I beat for about 4-5 minutes.  Using a large spoon or a spring loaded ice cream scoop go half way up but no more than 3/4 up on the cake liners.  
4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 minutes for Texas size cupcakes, adjust cooking time for smaller cupcakes. Cakes are done when they spring back when lightly touched or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool completely then frost, if desired.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Frosting
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cups heavy cream plus more to achieve a spreading or piping consistency
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 1/2 cups powder sugar

Cream butter with heavy cream and vanilla until light and fluffy in a stand mixer.  Add cocoa and powder sugar and continue beating.  At this time add more heavy cream if need to reach desired spreading capabilities.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Everyday Gluten-Free Bread

I am so happy today!  I made my first  Gluten-Free Bread  and it was very tasty!  I found the recipe on (Bob's Red Mills) website for Everyday Bread.  Super simple to put together.  However, I did make a few changes to my taste and I also am a trained baker so my instructions are a little different.  Click on the Bob's Red Mills link above for original recipe if you prefer.

I do not store my bread in plastic or paper bag but in a bread box.  If you don't have a bread box you can use a large stock pot.   From what I read on the internet, you need to store your home-made, Gluten-Free breads a little differently than conventional breads.  It has a nice chew/texture and is very flavorful.  I did add ground flaxseeds, chia seeds and Gluten-Free Instant Oats.

Everyday Gluten-Free Bread
source:  Bob's Red Mills
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Grease an 9x5 pan with oil

Dry Ingredients
3 1/3 cups Bob's Red Mills Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour
3 1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/2 cup Non-Fat Dry Milk Powder
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 T. Ground Flaxseeds
1 T. Chia Seeds
1T. Bob's Red Mills Gluten-Free Instant Oats

Wet Ingredients
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use organic coconut)

1 1/2 cups plus 2 T. warm water
1 T. Active Dry Yeast
pinch sugar

In one bowl add all dry ingredients and whisk to aerate the flours, etc.  Place to side.

In a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup add warm water, it should be just comfortably warm when you place your index finger in cup to test water temperature.  Not hot.  Add a pinch of sugar and yeast and mix well.  Cover with  plastic wrap place on top of preheating oven.  With in 5-10 minutes it should be all bubbly.  Your yeast has been activated and ready to go.

In a small bowl beat eggs with oil.

Add all wet ingredients into dry.  Mix well with a wooden spoon and make sure all is mixed well.  Drop dough into prepared baking pan.  I oil my hands, pat down dough and smooth it out in pan.  Cover loosely with clear wrap and place on top of preheating oven.  It should rise about an inch or so in about 1 hour.

Place in middle of oven and bake for about 50 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from pan.  Place on a cooling rack and let the bread cool and air out to prevent the bread from getting soggy.  Place cool bread in bread box.  Only cut what your are going to eat.  Freezes well.  If freezing, slice a few slices and wrap.   Only take out what you are going to use from freezer. 

Gluten-Free Super Crispy Chocolate Pecan Cookies

 My tummy has been giving me a lot of trouble and I notice it is every time I eat bread or baked goods with wheat.  I believe I have a Gluten Intolerance problem.  I have decided to go Gluten Free and I have notice a significant difference in the way I feel.

You will be seeing a lot of Gluten Free baking as well as conventional baking for friends and family, so stay tune for more!  Baking this way is a whole new mind-set for me and I will be learning a new way of baking/cooking.  I feel so good that I know it is imperative that I bake and cook this way.

By the way these cookies are absolutely delicious, super crispy and delightfully chewy.  They are great with a cold glass of Almond Milk.

Gluten-Free Crispy Chocolate Pecan Cookies
source:  Mama's Oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 Cookies Sheets lined with parchment or silpat
Space cookies apart, they do spread significantly

Wet Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted room temperature butter (soften)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 room temperature egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups oat flour (Gluten Free)
1 cup Bob Mills Gluten Free Baking Mix
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt

Add Ins:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups gluten free chocolate chips

Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Ad egg and extract continue to beat.  

In a a bowl add all dry ingredients and whisk to lighten flours.  Slowly add to cream mixture and continue to beat in mixer.  Add your pecan and chips and beat to incorporate.  You can not over beat the dough there is no gluten.  

Form dough into golf size balls or use a medium size ice scream scooper (The dough should not be bigger than golf size).  Do not flatten dough, the cookies will spread out by themselves.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove pan.  Let rest on pan for 15 minutes, remove cookies gently onto a cooling rack.  Wait about an hour until cookies are super crispy and delicious!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Old Fashion Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting

My daughter is in training.  It is never to early to start learning how to bake a cake.  In my household, I try to encourage my daughter to participate in the preparation of our food.  She picked out the cake recipe.  It is Martha Stewart's Yellow Butter Cake Recipe with Chocolate Frosting.  It is a lovely butter cake.  My daughter actually measured the ingredients, baked and frosted this cake.  I think she is on her way to being a Domesticated Diva, she was ten when she made the cake in picture. 

Martha Stewart Yellow Butter Cake Recipe  
Makes two 8 inch or 9-inch cake layers

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups milk 


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

3.Divide batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.  

Martha Stewart's Chocolate Frosting
Frosting for one  8 inch or 9-inch layer cake
 24 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon boiling water
 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
 Pinch of salt
2 layers of Yellow Butter Cake  sliced in middle to make 4 cakes

I had to add extra confectioner's sugar to make it easier for my daughter to frost cake. 

1. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water. Turn off heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes. Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in cocoa mixture.

3. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; brush off crumbs. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top, bottom side up, and spread top with 3/4 cup of frosting; repeat process with the third layer. Place the remaining layer on top of the third layer, bottom-side up; insert a dowel into the center of cakes if necessary. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ginger Carrot Japanese Dressing

This is the most requested recipe in my family.  They love my Japanese dressing.  It taste like the dressing you get in Japanese restaurants.  It is usually served over iceberg lettuce.

Ginger Carrot Japanese Dressing
by Mama's Oven

I use a Vitamix Blender

To your blender add:
1 celery stalk
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 size medium carrots
1/4 of a medium onion
1 Tablespoon sugar
A thumbnail size of fresh ginger (skin and all)
1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

1 cup flavorless oil

Process these ingredients in blender into a fine pulp.  Slowly add 1 cup clear oil such as canola, sunflower, etc.... Process for about 20 seconds more until mixture is emulsified.  Place in a glass jar in fridge for one week.  Can be used right away.  You can adjust the flavors here.  You can add more salt, more sugar, etc....

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Partrick's Dinner "Happy St. Patricks"

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  Enjoy this day with a traditional Irish dinner.  God bless!

Irresistible Irish Soda Bread
Source:  All Recipes
I baked my in a 8" round 3" high pan.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes 
Servings: 12  

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

Optional:  1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I soak mine in hot water for 15 minutes) discard water. 

Dust with powder sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor. Makes a difference!

source:  Mama's Oven

Corn Beef/Savoy Cabbage braised in Beer/Horseradish and Gravy

Red Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes Medley with Lemon, Olive Oil and Oregano
Served with typical green salad, Soda Bread and some good Irish Beer!
Dinner is Served!!

This is my take on how I cook corn beef.  I usually buy the round eye corn beef which cost a little more from B.J.'s which is like a Sam's Club or Costco, but well worth it.  I add 1 cup of Irish beer or your favorite beer would be fine.   I add 1 Tablespoon of horseradish, 1 Tablespoon brown mustard, 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce to the cup of beer, pour on top of corn beef.  Slice savoy cabbage into 1/4 long slices add to roasting pan.  Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake in slow oven 340 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

Take about 2 cups of juice after it is done cooking (cool down) then add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour, slowly whisk into the juices in a sauce pan on low heat and make a gravy.  Adjust seasoning (salt/pepper) if needed.  It is so delicious with the gravy. 

I take 2 medium size sweet potatoes 4 large red potatoes, peel, wash and rinse.  Cut them into even sizes.  Add a little more than 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, juice of 2 lemons, salt, pepper, dried oregano, a little water about 1/4 to 1/3 cup. Toss and roast in low oven for about an hour.  While I am cooking the corn beef I lowered oven to about 330 degrees.  Check your potatoes while cooking every 20 minutes and move around with a spoon to make sure they are not sticking. Cook until fork tender. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blackberry Cobbler

Yummy!!!   I just love cobbler and this is my go to recipe.  You can put this together in a jiffy by usisng a food processor.  Great for last minute company coming over.  You can also make this a day ahead and slightly reheat, if you want to serve it warm.

I went to the market the other day and they had the most beautiful blackberries.  I instantly had a craving for cobbler with real whip cream.  This has to be my favorite dessert.  You can substitute any fruit you like, my suggestion would be all types of berries, or a mixture of pears, apples and peaches.  This dessert is truly comforting to me.  You can double or triple the recipe for a church potluck or party.  Travels well.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Cobbler
Recipe source: Grandma
Serving 6-8
Makes a 9 inch square cobbler

1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Pinch salt
2 sticks unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 T. ice water (you might need more for dough to form a ball)
4 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups blackberry preserves (can use 1 cup to cut back on sugar)

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9 inch square pan.  Combine sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks crumbly.  Pour in 1 Tablespoon of ice water and pulse until the dough begins to hold together.

Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and and shape into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and chill for an hour.  Combine the fresh blackberries and preserves in a bowl and stir well to coat the fruit.  Take about 3/4 of the dough and press into prepared square pan and bring it up 3/4 inch up the sides.  Spoon fruit mixture on top of pastry.  Take remaining dough and crumble on top of fruit.  Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.  Dust with confectioner's sugar and a dollop of whip cream or ice cream.

Feel free to substitute any fruit with matching preserves. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Coconut Pineapple Carrot Sheet Cake

My Mama has had this recipe for years.  She made this when I was a kid and I am 50 years old, so it has been around a long time.  It is moist and delicious and one of my favorite cakes.  However, I make this cake using my food processor.  My mama did it the old fashion way.  You don't have to use a food processor but you would have to grate your carrots and chop your walnuts by hand.  You really don't need any fancy equipment just mix in a big bowl.  Even the frosting can be done in a bowl if your cream cheese is extremely soft and brought to room temperature.  

My Mom always made this cake for potlucks and barbeques.  This is my sister's favorite cake.  

Dry Ingredients
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4  teaspoons baking soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove

Wet Ingredients
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1 cup vegetable oil
3 jumbo eggs or 4 large  (room temperature)
2 tsp. coconut extract
Add ins:
4 to 5 medium size carrots (about 2 cups finely grated)
1 can crushed pineapple ( drain juice and reserve)
1 cup sweeten shredded coconut

1 cup Walnuts

Sift all dry ingredients together.

In a food processor add 4 medium carrots, add walnuts, coconut and pineapple and process until chopped. Add all wet ingredients and process until well incorporated. Remove container from processor and pour on to sifted dry ingredients mix with a large spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. You can add  a little of the reserved juice if batter seems dry and needs to be moisten.

Pour batter into a greased/floured 9x13 pan. I bake it for about 1 hour and 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Remove from oven let cool completely then frost with Cream Cheese frosting. Can decorate the top of cake with coconut, pineapple chunks or walnut after frosting cake. 

Cream Cheese Coconut Frosting
1 8 oz. package room temperature soften Cream Cheese
2 to 4 cups powder sugar (depending on how sweet you like your frosting)
1 tsp. coconut extract 

Cream your cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.  Add as much powder sugar to get a frosting like texture and the sweetness you desire.  Add your extract.  Mix until fluffy.  Frost on cooled cake.


Taste even better with age.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fudgy Brownie Cookies

Love These Cookies!!!!!!

If you love Brownies as much as I do, then you will love these cookies.  Their moist, cake-like and gooey at the same time.  They are very portable and great for the lunch box for a little extra treat.  Great with a cold glass of milk.

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
Cookie sheet lined silpat
Spring loaded Ice Cream Scoop

2 sticks Margarine (not butter) I use Blue Bonnet
3/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 extra large egg (room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

(Do not use salt if your are using a salted margarine)
if using unsalted margarine add 1/2 tsp. salt

Cream in stand mixer, margarine, brown sugar and sugar until light nad fluffy, add 1 egg.  Continue to beat until very well incorporated.  Add vanilla.  Sift all dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add slowly to cream mixture and beat until well mixed.  Add chips and mix.  Let dought sit for 30 minutes.

Using a spring loaded ice cream scoop with a 1/4 cup capacity, put 6 rounded mounds on a cookie sheet with equal distance apart.  Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes.  If making smaller cookies adjust time accordingly.  Remove from cookie sheet gently and cool on cooling rack.

Note:  I find that margarine works best in this recipe.  It makes a moist and not a greasy cookie.  I highly recommend margarine.

Lovely with the additions of walnuts, white chocolate chips and I make a mint version with mint flavored chocolate chips and coarsely chopped  Andes Mint Candies!!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwiches

I don't know about you, but I get a craving for a good peanut butter cookie more than I care to admit.  This is my version of what I think a peanut-butter, cookie sandwich should taste like.  I fill my cookies with a creamy peanut butter filling, laced with honey, and sometimes I'll even add a little smear of grape jelly or chocolate ganache for good measure.  This is a special treat for after school snack with a cold glass of milk for the kids, or for that matter for us adults.  Your never to old to enjoy a good peanut butter cookie!

Recipe:  350 degrees
Bake time: 8 - 10 minutes

Cookie Dough
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup Skippy peanut butter, creamy
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Cream butter, sugar until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla, cream until light and fluffy.  Add peanut butter, continue to cream until incorporated.  Mix flour and baking soda and add to cream mixture.  Mix well.  

Roll 2 Tablespoons of dough into a round ball.  Flatten gently, press with a fork to get the peanut butter traditional cookie design.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes on silpat or parchment.  Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool on rack.  

1 cup Skippy Peanut Butter, Creamy
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
3 Tablespoons honey
2  Tablespoons water
1/4 cup canola oil

Cream peanut butter with oil, honey and water.  Add confectioner's sugar and beat until smooth.  Add more oil if necessary.  Spread on one cookie and top with underside of another.  Makes 10 sandwich cookies are 20 plain cookies.  

Optional:  You can add grape jelly for a Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie or Chocolate Ganache.

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